Trading Spaces

Spitzmiller & Norris and designer Lauren DeLoach refresh the interiors of a traditional Buckhead townhouse for a pair of downsizing homeowners.

All too often, after children grow up and the youngest finally leaves the nest, homeowners are faced with the age-old quandary: live with too much house for too few inhabitants, or pare down and redistribute belongings to a humble new dwelling. Challenged to consolidate favorite pieces to fit in a reduced footprint, many are left feeling unsettled.

But when this active couple decided to trade a Brookhaven manse for a four-story townhome in a walkable Buckhead community, their longtime architects, Rick Spitzmiller and Robert Norris, made sure that wasn’t the case. That meant making significant changes to the existing interior architecture, including gutting a kitchen that was “awkwardly stuffed” into the front of the house and building it anew at the heart of the home. For this pair, both avid cooks and organic farmers, the modified layout makes sense; their airy new workspace blends seamlessly into the sitting room, adjoined by a wet bar in an updated Shaker style.

Throughout the residence, constricting walls were whisked away, resulting in open spaces such as a cozy dining room-cum-library complete with a fireplace, curvy upholstery and painted wood paneling.

Part of what made the design so successful was the acumen of contractor Greg DeLoach, who executed the architects’ vision with uncompromising exactitude. He also brought in his better half, interior designer Lauren DeLoach. Taking her cues from the homeowners, Lauren’s finishes and furnishings played with texture and tones rather than patterns and hues. And every understated design element was edited with painstaking precision. “The homeowners didn’t want it to be perfectly set or decorated down to the last tchotchke,” Lauren notes. Instead, art collections—from turned-wood bowls by Robert Piscitelli to works on paper by Brett Smith—take the spotlight in custom niches and walls, set amid a soft palette grounded by crisp black accents.

“These homeowners really like elements that contribute textural interest and warmth to their spaces, and it’s this sort of vocabulary that we’ve developed with them over time,” explains Spitzmiller. “These decisions give scale and definition to their spaces.” Thanks to this design team, they’ve gained a retreat that feels just as spacious and warm as their previous abode. It has privacy, but it’s appealing. And it’s made the whole process of paring down entirely pleasant.

ARCHITECTURE Rick Spitzmiller and Robert Norris, Spitzmiller & Norris, Inc. 349 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE, Suite C5, Atlanta 30305. (404) 812-0224; INTERIOR DESIGN Lauren DeLoach, Lauren DeLoach Interiors.